It’s about team. And survival.


Steeped in tradition, the World Eskimo-Indian Olympic games are a mix of competition and culture. And they’re both on display every time the participants step on the floor.


There’s more to the four-man carry than how far one can walk with four people draped all over him/her. At 600 pounds, the weight mimics a seal or whale meat after a hunt.


“The idea is to pack all that meat back to the village — you had to be strong to do so,” said Sam Strange, vice chairman of the WEIO games.


Nowadays, folks head to a local gym or pool for a workout. In remote villages, the gym was whatever you made it.


The Alaskan high kick built strength when there were no weights to lift.


“In the long, cold winter months, when it’s 60 to 70 below, they weren’t hunting or playing outside, so they needed games to stay fit or strong,” Strange said.


Watch the competitions today and you’ll see contestants helping and encouraging one another. It’s a perfect parallel to the lives many lived.


“You had to know how to survive. In order to survive, you just couldn’t do it by yourself,” said Nicole Johnston, WEIO chairwoman.